Soweto train crash driver fired

2011-05-25 14:16
Johannesburg - The driver of the train which crashed into a stationary train in Soweto last week was dismissed on Tuesday for doing 85km an hour in a 30km/h zone, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said on Wednesday.

"He was travelling at 85km an hour in a 30km zone and was doing 33km an hour on impact...he passed through two red signals," said Lucky Montana, Prasa Group CEO.

CEO for the rail division, Mosenngwa Mofi, said in response to the Soweto accident and another accident in Tshwane a few weeks ago that an extraordinary meeting was held on Saturday to review safety measures.

Some of the decisions taken at the meeting included the introduction of a compulsory stop at all T-signals.

"[These were] previously treated as cautionary signals where drivers could proceed with caution after a three-minute wait.

"The new rule will now compel drivers to stop and give authorisation before proceeding." A further decision was made to implement the no fault commuter cover for all valid ticket holders during a train accident.

18 victims still in hospital

Eight hundred and fifty seven people were injured when two trains collided in Meadowlands a week ago.

Eighteen victims are still in hospital.

Montana said disciplinary action had been taken against the driver in the Soweto accident a month earlier, also for speeding.

"He was put on a 12-month probation and only a month later he was speeding again." Prasa said it had also set aside R20 million to assist the victims of the two accidents which will be over and above the payment of hospital bills.

Starting next week, victims of the two accidents with serious injuries will receive R10 000 in compensation and victims with other injuries will receive R7 500.

Montana explained that R19.5bn has been set aside for infrastructure upgrade, including improvement of the signalling system and stations.

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